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Academics Protest Trump With Public Reading of French Homosexual’s Book

Posted on | January 17, 2017 | 1 Comment

This makes perfect sense at a certain level:

Many groups of scholars and writers are planning teach-ins or readings for Friday, the day Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated as president of the United States. Others are organizing teach-ins to focus on Trump’s policies.
Some anthropologists are taking a different approach. They are planning events that day in which people — together at locations across the country or virtually connected — will read and discuss a lecture presented by Michel Foucault, the late philosopher, as part of a series he gave at the Collège de France. The lectures have been published as a book, Society Must Be Defended. . . .
“This lecture strikes us as very good to think with at this present point: it demands we simultaneously consider the interplay of sovereign power, discipline, biopolitics and concepts of security, and race. In light of the current sociopolitical situation where the reaction to activism against persistent racism has been to more overtly perpetuate racism as political discourse, we need to remember and rethink the role of racism as central to, rather than incidental to, the political and economic activities of the state,” wrote the two scholars who organized the effort in a blog post at Savage Minds. The scholars are Paige West, the Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College and Columbia University, and JC Salyer, term professor of practice at Barnard.

Foucault was a gay French philosopher who died of AIDS in 1984. His postmodern (or poststructural) philosophy was typical of the French Left in the decadent political and intellectual aftermath of World War II. The Communist Party was so powerful in France that, when the Kremlin wished to signal a change in the party line in 1945, the chosen messenger was Jacques Duclos, the Stalinist leader of the French Communist Party. It was the infamous “Duclos letter” that spelled the doom of CPUSA Chairman Earl Browder (who had sought to maintain the old Popular Front line) and ushered in the anti-American stance of Cold War Communism. The extraordinary influence of Communism in post-WWII France helps to explain why French intellectuals like Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were so consistently anti-American, a tradition to which Foucault was an heir, and which made him a darling of American academics, whose hatred of America is their intellectual raison d’etre.

Michel Foucault and his 1976 book, ‘The History of Sexuality.’

Foucault is perhaps best known to American students for The History of Sexuality which is one of the main sources cited by Professor Judith Butler in her book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (see pp. 23-24, 31-33, 124-127). Foucault’s idea of sexuality as regulated by “discourses” of power in turn influenced another of Professor Butler’s main sources, radical lesbian Monique Wittig (see “These Discourses of Heterosexuality Which Particularly Oppress All of Us”). The prevalence of Third Wave feminist “gender theory” in American universities has given Foucault a sort of academic immortality, and it is therefore a cliché that these Barnard College professors would choose this French homosexual as their Inauguration Day protest reading.

You may ask, “Who are these professors at Barnard?” Professor West is an anthropologist whose specialty is the natives of Papua New Guinea, while her colleague John C. Salyer is a staff attorney for the Arab American Family Support Center. Two years ago, West and Salyer gave a “Distinguished Lecture” at the American Museum of Natural History about — wait for it — the anthropology of climate change.

What are we to make of the claim by West and Salyer that “the reaction to activism against persistent racism has been to more overtly perpetuate racism as political discourse”? Are they talking about the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which provoked riots and murders of police? Are they perhaps talking about the Islamic terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, or the terrorist attacks in France and Germany? Do Americans “perpetuate racism as political discourse” simply by stating the self-evident fact that radical Muslims want to kill us all? Are we not permitted to say or do anything in defense of our own lives? And since we’re asking questions that these Barnard professors have never asked, let’s ask this: Why do parents pay $50,394 annual tuition for their daughters to attend Barnard College? Is it mainly because Barnard tuition is cheaper than having their daughters committed to an insane asylum?

(Via Memeorandum.)



One Response to “Academics Protest Trump With Public Reading of French Homosexual’s Book”

  1. He was Hit in the Head with a Brick | Regular Right Guy
    January 17th, 2017 @ 4:43 pm

    […] Academics Protest Trump With Public Reading of French Homosexual’s Book […]